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Media Coverage

Quick aid saved life of Beach runner who collapsed

By Meghan Hoyer, The Virginian-Pilot – 11/27/2010

Virginia Beach
A 66-year-old man who collapsed during Thursday's Turkey Trot remained in critical condition Friday evening, as officials called the runners who came to his aid lifesavers.

Peter Howes of Virginia Beach went into cardiac arrest around the 5-1/2-mile mark of the 6.2-mile road race at Mount Trashmore.

Aimee Curley and Julie Rergyamdee weren't far behind when Howes collapsed.

By the time the pair ran up on him, a nurse who had been running nearby had her head on his chest, checking for a heartbeat, Curley said.

"We saw him, and he didn't look well, and just kind of looked at each other and said, 'Oh God,' " said Curley, a registered nurse who used to work in a pediatric emergency room.

Both women, who had just been remarking on setting a strong pace, stopped to see if they could help.
"It's all relative when you see things like that," Curley said.

As Curley and another runner cleared Howes' airway, Rergyamdee, a cardiovascular specialist at Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters, and the other nurse took turns with chest compressions.

The foursome - neither race officials nor Curley and Rergyamdee caught the other two runners' names - worked on Howes until paramedics arrived.

Howes regained a pulse at the scene, said Bruce Nedelka, division chief for the Virginia Beach Department of Emergency Medical Services.

Immediate and continual care is crucial for cardiac arrest patients, he said Thursday.

But Curley and Rergyamdee played down their help.

"Anybody would have done the same thing," Curley said. "And there were plenty who did - there were a lot of people who stopped and helped.

"It kind of renews your faith in humanity, that people will stop and make sure everything is OK."

Race Director Dan Edwards said other runners reported that Howes was a disciplined athlete who put in 20 or more miles a week.

"He was a regular runner very capable of doing this," Edwards said.

Five years ago, a young woman who was a college athlete died after the Turkey Trot of a congenital heart condition, Edwards said. The race attracts roughly 2,300 runners each year and is so large that organizers have an ambulance on site during the run.

Paramedics stationed at the Mt. Trashmore Family YMCA were able to get to Howes within minutes, Edwards said.

Rergyamdee, who had never had to use her CPR training outside of the hospital, said it was lucky that so many medical professionals had been around. She said the rest of her Thanksgiving was spent hoping for the best.

"I was glad we were there, all of us," she said.

If Howes recovers, she added, "That would make my Thanksgiving."

Pilot writer Dave Forster contributed to this report.
Meghan Hoyer, (757) 446-2293,

About Synergy

Synergy, located in Chesapeake, Virginia, is an integrative medical center for women that combines the best of traditional and holistic medicine. We specialize in integrative treatments for menopause, sleep disorders, fatigue, loss of energy, digestive problems, gynecologic problems, and chronic medical conditions including chronic pain. Our services include bioidentical hormone treatment, hormone replacement therapy, anti-aging medicine, cancer treatment therapy, medical acupuncture, herbal medicine, nutritional medicine, and massage therapy. The integrative center serves women in Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Williamsburg, Hampton Roads, Eastern Shore, Richmond, Virginia, and North Carolina.

For more details, please contact us at (757) 410-5462 or info@synergymedicalcenter.

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